I am a fan of Mr. Follett & his books. I found The Pillars of the Earth well written, thought provoking and descriptive. Perhaps too much so, If you are a person who believes "everything happens for a reason", or "things always work out for the best" this book may reinforce that view or you may want to hide the sleeping pills.
I expected a fascinating tale of medieval life, but it is relentlessly full of sadistic voilence, rape and sexual sadism. I continued as far as Part 3 hoping for better sections, but I am mystified as to what people see in this book. I took pity on myself and my sick feeling and stopped for good.
Yikes. This is the last time I trust a 4.5 star review on Audible. If, to go with your historical novel, you would like plausibility, period feel and accuracy, three-dimensional characters, literary grace, and clever plotting, look elsewhere. If you start this book and then start frowning, trust your instincts.
This book certainly has aspirations to be an epic... just look at how long it is! But alas, an epic it is not. The story line is predictable, and the story line gets repetitive. And the characters, especially the villains, are one dimensional.
The book does have its good moments, to be sure. But with so many words devotes to it... the author could have used those words to create new themes and/or give some more complexities to the characters.
I tend to choose my books based on length, and this is my longest one to date AND very absorbing! I looked forward to walking the dogs, cleaning the kitchen, folding the laundry, driving to work, so I could get on with it! It definitely gave me the most bang for the buck yet. I love characters more than stories - and this book had well-developed characters to care about and despise. I agree with some reviewers that the sex is more graphic than necessary. I just hope Mr. Follett didn't go the way of some authors and fill up the sequel with even more sex and violence...
The story could have been better had it been compressed down. Book was way to long and not enough excitement to hold my interest.
The characters are so black and white. Everyone is either good or bad! They had no depth.
Everyday life in the eleventh century, according to this book, was full of trauma. It went on and on about one bad incident after another. It became tiring, because the reader could predict the outcome of each incident.
I always finish a book that I start. This one became very tedious, but I got though it. I will not read the sequel.
Something different .
This book was so long, I suppose the author thought several sex/rape scenes were necessary for the reader to reman interested. Explicit, repetitive ones were unnecessary.
A few other disasters could have been eliminated, also. There were so many disasters during these times that they over shadow anything good ever happening to the characters.
The book gives the reader a feel for the life of the clergy, the peasants, and the nobility during the eleventh century.
The details of the building of the cathedrals, and the corruption of so many church officials were interesting.
There was a lot of extras in here that should have landed on the cutting room floor to borrow from the film medium.
It was good when it was good and then there were stretches of filler that are harder to skip in audio than in paper form.
John Lee did a nice job narrating - I'll look for other books he has done before I look at another Follett book.
As I finish the last section, I am in complete panic as to what to read next. I have never enjoyed a book to the extent of this one. Absolutely wonderful!
Great story, masterfully written, wonderful characters, excellent narrator--what more could you ask?? I didn't read it...er, listen to it... I devoured it. I felt a bit lost when I finished it, like all my imaginary friends had moved away to another city and gone about their lives without me. To me, that's the real mark of epic storytelling. Well done, Mr. Follett!